Charitable knitter warmly thanked
While creating a cute woollen garment with your own two hands is an achievement in itself New Plymouth’s Kat Lea has been long been delicately casting stitches.
And her knitting needles have a charitable point too.
For the past three decades Lea has helped keep hundreds of babies warm by knitting woollen singlets, beanies, cardigans, booties, and blankets, and donating them to the Taranaki Base Hospital neonatal unit - often reaching into her own pockets to purchase a yarn or two.
Recently her outstanding crafty efforts and service to the community were recognised when she was presented the New Plymouth District Council Citizen Award.
‘‘It just seemed unreal, because I do it because I want to do it. It just never occurred to me there would be anything like that at the end of it,’’ Lea said.
Lea likens knitting to a form of therapy and would love to see a resurgence in the handy skill taught to her by her mum. ’’You’ve got to have the urge to do it,’’ Lea said. ‘‘I will sit here and watch the google box and knit.’’
At 75 years of age her volunteering doesn’t stop at knitting. Lea joined the Waitara Lioness Club in 1987 as a charter member and through natural attrition, became part of the Merrilands Lions and is now with the Bell Block and District Lions Club.
From holding various positions within the clubs her involvement has spanned countless Lion and Lioness community projects. Earlier this year she received her 30-year service Chevron Award.
‘‘I like knitting and I like giving back to the community, so through Lions, that gives back to the community the whole time, and in knitting for the neonatal unit, it was a combination of the two.’’
With this year’s recipients of the Citizens’ Awards noted as outstanding due to their years of dedication and how much they have given back to the community, there’s no doubt Lea more than fits the bill.
Lea was born and raised in Waitara and will continue doing the things she loves to do, for people within the community she loves too.
‘‘Taranaki is a good place to live, I’ve lived here all my life, but i’ve travelled overseas a few times.’’
‘‘You fly back in and see that mountain, it makes you feel at home.’’
Kit Lea was honoured for 30 years of service knitting for the Neo-natal unit at Taranaki base hospital.